New Guinea Tigerfish, Datnioides (Coius) campbelli


Matt Clarke manages to track down one of the rarest of the Tiger fish, Datnioides campbelli.

Common name: New Guinea Tigerfish

Scientific name: Datnioides campbelli

Origin: Found in estuarine waters around New Guinea and in rivers around the Gulf of Papua.

Size: Not known, but around 45cm/18" is probably typical for this species.

Water: Lives in both brackish and freshwater. These fish were doing well in hard, alkaline freshwater. The supplier says that it should be possible to keep them in these conditions in the long term, although others do recommend brackish conditions for adult campbelli.

Diet: River shrimp, chunks of frozen fish and prawns. Pellets are sometimes taken by other Datnioides species.

Aquarium: These fish were sharing their tank with other Datnioides species and were leaving them alone, however, they're not keen on members of their own species. They're predatory, so don't keep them with anything small, and they need plenty of hiding places, as they're quite shy. Given the large adult size, you'll need an aquarium of 150cm/5' or more for a fully grown one. PFK's resident Tiger fish guru, Sean Evans, says that these are best kept on their own in a big tank.

Notes: These used to be known as Coius, but Datnioides (note the spelling) is now considered the currently valid name according to the most recent study.

Identification: These are much more golden than other Datnioides species and their stripes are less distinct. The fish also has a different number of gill rakers to other species, plus 10 branched anal rays and 14-15 branched dorsal rays.

Availability: Very few campbelli have been imported into the UK. These ones came from wholesaler Tom Halvorsen Ltd (07977 098127) who imported them from Indonesia. Wharf Aquatics has also had some specimens in very recently and I also spotted a single campbelli on sale at another retailer under a generic "Tiger fish" tag, for just 30!

Price: Rare and sought after. Expect to pay well around 150 or more.